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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Praise you in this Storm - Casting Crown

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

lyrics from

Monday, February 14, 2011

Homeschooling two tots

We entered this year still pushed into something I was not quite prepared for. My older tot entered preschool. The story is that we registered him BEFORE we made the decision to homeschool him. We were not against school, but we did prefer homeschool. ;) For the most part, we believed that the closer a child is to the people he spent time with, a.k.a parents, the more keen he is to listen to them, especially so during his formative years.
KB would be four this year. We evaluated him and thought he was ready to enter school. We made the decision to let him try it out. He surprised us by being so keen. I thought he was just being excited during the preparation stage. But he surprised us all by NOT CRYING in school and telling us that he likes his school, his teachers and look forward going. It had been almost 2 months now.
The only thing I still did not take a liking to, is the time needed to be up. He would be up at 7am, contrasted with the usual 7.30am or so, and would usually look tired by the time school finishes at 11.45am. I decided that He didn't need to go to school everyday. Being in a classroom with mostly teacher-directed activities and similiar outdoor play was a tad too confined and non stimulating for a curious preschooler. So, KB goes to school 3X a week at most. :) Perfect for us.
While KB is in school, I potty train my younger tot. My younger tot has gotten so used to following Kor Kor wherever he went and does that I am beginning to suspect if he even obeys me. I guess he does a little, 60% perhaps but I like it 80%. :) And the bonding was just great for starters. The house gets a little quiet with only 1 boy, and I truly miss it at times, but I had learnt to appreciate it gradually. I also get to swim at least once a week in the morning without having to leave two tots to my helper who may find handling two tots difficult.
So while two boys are home, this is what I do. I keep a routine so I don't lose everything we had established. Of course, I don't do as much as I used to with my older tot (even as I wish to).
The days I take him out, we like to go outdoors and let the sunshine bathe them and spend time bonding and pruning his character. With kids, we are learning to take things one step at a time, if the Lord would like for him to stay in school, we would follow and if he were to be taken out, we want to be ready as well.
Homeschool scheduling with 2 tots (aged 2, aged nearly 4)
MORNING (7.30am - 11.30am)
Prayer – Bible reading for both kids. Dad reads to a tot, mum reads to another.
Breakfast (30mins) – Dad eats with kids, while mum does devotion in room.
Worship & Music (5-10mins)
Outdoors large motor (30mins-2hr) – playground, parks, zoo, sand play, gardens, void deck, nearby bicycle trails, ball games, running, swimming, cycling, play bubbles etc.
Independent play (15-30mins) – older tot chooses any toy he wants and goes into a room to play. I use a gate so I can still see him from time to time. while I work 1-to-1 with younger tot on puzzle, pretend play, puppet, games, BFIAR etc.
Reading – Both are read together, starting with baby board books and young tot is free to pick his own activity , while I continue reading for tot 2
Younger tot naps. So 1-to-1 with older tot. (1.30pm - 2.30pm)
1 hour – (either one per day: math, science, phonics, Language arts, crafts)
Monday: Language arts – Charlotte Mason, bits of BFAIR, FIAR, Phonics - Ruth Beechick 3 R’s
Tuesday: Art & craft – The way they see it , Artistic Pursuits curriculum & bits of Reggio Emilio approach
Wednesday: Chinese –we converse in mandarin from time to time, with WED being the speak mandarin day.
Thursday: Science – we use the hands-on approach & read science-related books
Friday: Math, Family Math for young children -Grace Davila Coastes, Jean Kerr Stenmark + some ideas from living Math forum, Montessori
*Parenting – we use Growing Families International curriculum & shepherding a child’s heart by Ps Tedd Tripp – focusing on the heart of a child, character and values.
*worship – weekends, resources from top 100 Sunday school sites + play-n-worship + focus on family resources
Play together & Free Play/ Creative play (any kind of play that is suitable for two tots; chalk drawing, craft etc) – learning to share, conflict management (under parent supervision)

reads to boys Family play

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review of Tots/Pre-schoolers Bible

I wanted to do a review on the Bibles I own, some great, some not so great. Bibles are like clothes we wear, they grow with us and I find myself having to acquire new Bibles simply because of relevance.

When I first had KB, my goal was to read the great word of God, so he can be familiar with us reading the Bible. I also wanted him to love the word, so I got a Bible that rhymes.

This is a small Bible with OT and NT . A sample text reads, Moses said, "Let's start, now go with all your heart!" And the people walked in wonder as God made the waters part."

Suitable for aged 0-2yrs old

(click image to go to Amazon link)

The second Bible we got was a present from our small group.

It was a simple, straight forward Bible that kept close to the original text, with big illustration. I use this for telling Bible stories together with other resources because this Bible does not provide questions or devotional material.

The main draw of this Bible is its big pictures.

Suitable for aged 2-3yrs old.

(click image to go to Amazon link)

Blessings Every Day is a devotional Bible. It is used best to illicit conversation and discussion with children who is able to understand simple Biblical concepts. Yet, if there was a particular habit, character, or concept that I wish to bring across. I would usually use this together with other activities to teach.

The thing with this devotional is that it is meant as a springboard for conversation, I don't always cover every word on one devotion because it turns the child away as it can be too wordy to understand.

(click image to go to Amazon link)

The other thing about this devotional Bible is that it does not come with a content page. It is organised by months and days. So unless you have no specific requirement on going about the topics you want to cover, this would be ideal. I tend to like to cover immediate topics that is developmentally appropriate or needs-based before going onto general topics. So I do find it a little difficult to prepare my teachings ahead.

Suitable for aged 3-5yrs old

The Big Picture Bible is a Bible that is somewhat made simple with big illustration for the very young. It rephrases some words and makes it read like a storybook. Phrases are also short, and simple questions are included for simple conversations.

We use this for Bible stories alone. I did not think this is a Bible that could grow up with the children because I prefer original text.

Their beautifully illustrated picture is certainly a big draw for children as young as 2yrs old.

(click on image to go Amazon link) Suitable for aged 2-4yr old

Toddler Bible comes with a DVD cartoon, so in a way, it is self-explanatory and the story sticks better.

We're no T.V buffs, so when it comes to watching DVD to learn something, we are selective. My tot is only allowed 15mins each viewing, and that is about 2 stories.

(Caution: as a word of caution, parents need to be aware of how addictive TV, or other electronic media. Unsupervised viewing or having TV as a babysitting is a sure way of cultivating addiction)

The good thing about this Bible is that it includes very simple activity to reinforce learning as well as prompters for
parent-tot conversation as each stories brings out relevant
life topics to learn. I like it that I can use this Bible alone or
together with other resources.

Suitable for aged 3-5yrs old.

If anyone has experiences of good Bible and would like to share, pls feel free to comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Shift Happens

How are we preparing our children's future ?